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Good Eats In Watertown/Cambridge Area?

  • j

Hi, I am new to CHOWHOUND (but not to eating/drinking) and I just moved to Cambridge, on the Watertown -Belmont Line. I am looking for some real gems, pizza, good ethnic food, hidden gems etc.

I have already discovered Armando's and Formaggio's. What else is there?

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  1. Well, there are endless recs if you search this board, but a few of my favorites are:

    Stella's Pizza on Mt. Auburn (get the 18" and as for it cooked well done. Nice, thin and crispy!)
    Shangri-La in Belmont for Chinese
    Sevan bakery on Mt. Auburn - best MidEastern bakery and prepared foods.

    1. Not a whole lot on that side of town (I used to live there) though some chow-worthy dishes at a number of places that aren't necessarily full-on chow destinations.

      Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown is popular, and for good reason. I've been underwhelmed with egg dishes, but have really enjoyed salads, pancakes, sandwiches (including a nice felafel sandwich). Just up the street, Arax market is fantastic for stocking up on Middle Eastern supplies and some prepared foods. Great for when you're throwing a party and don't have time to cook.

      I've not been to Shangri La, which someone will surely chime in about it. It's been on my to-do list for a while.

      I don't rate some of the other places in Huron Village (near Formaggio and Armando's) though others will. I find Hi Rise very overrated for sandwiches, but do like their brown bread a lot, some cookies are pretty good. Service always irks me. Full Moon is a VERY kid-friendly restaurant on Huron, I think their food is solid. Great breakfasts, you can get a beer or mimosa, and they have a small adults-only section. Dinner items can be quite good, too. House fried chips for the nachos, a great mediterranean plate, excellent cod cakes. I'd skip Village Kitchen and Ortanique, personally. If you haven't discovered it already, Formaggio Kitchen has an outdoor BBQ on Saturdays - great food. The pulled pork on ciabatta is my favorite.

      On Mass Ave near the Arlington line is Qingdao. They deliver to the Huron Village area of Cambridge. You will want to know this asap. Search the board and you'll find menu suggestions. Right nearby is Greek Corner - good for takeout on the way home when you don't feel like cooking. Nothing mind-blowing, but I've always liked their gyros (I am NO expert, but I find them tasty) and the salads are fine. Lemon soup is quite nice.

      Living in that neighborhood, I also frequented the restaurants right at Mass Ave and Shepard Street: Chez Henri for cuban sandwiches (good for takeout), Cambridge Common for nicer pub fare (and good service), and the Forest Cafe for tex/mex (you need to order right , some dishes are winners (ejotes, many of the specials, soups), some can be disappointing.) It's a nice mix of locals and transplants there.

      1. Strip T's at 93 School St., near Arsenal intersec is a homey little storefront popular with us locals for nightly specials(lots of fish), homemade desserts & friendly staff: http://www.stripts.com/. Jasmine, Mt. Auburn & Lloyd Rd, for Persian eats across the street from Sevan Bakery and Arax Market.

        1. Shangri-La, a Taiwanese restaurant just across the Belmont line, is superb. Around that area there are four Armenian shops with delicious food: Massis, Arax, Sevan, and Eastern Lamejun.

          5 Replies
          1. re: aventinus

            Just an aside regarding Massis....we decided to by a few baked goods from them a couple of weeks ago instead of our usual store, Sevan. Big disappointment! I used to get alot of things from them, but the pastries have really gone downhill. A baklava tasted like margarine, unlike the buttery taste I've come to expect from Sevan. Mamoul were likewise lackluster. Any else experience this?

            1. re: Science Chick

              I stick with Sevan for bakery stuff and only go to Massis for bulk items. Massis is bigger and so has a wider variety of dry goods, oils, canned goods, etc.

              1. re: lbjay

                Yeah, but I think even Arax is better for that stuff......what a shame!

              2. re: Science Chick

                According to my Armenian neighbor, "Massis -- no good!"

                1. re: Pia

                  Decided on Massis because I had had their lacmajun (sorry for the spelling). Not bad. But the almonds were rancid and the rice pudding was the worst I have ever had. Will have to try the other two.

            2. I would add to these rec's:

              Uncommon Grounds on Mt. Auburn in Watertown for a decent, generous breakfast. The bacon and provolone scrambled eggs are quite tasty.

              I second the suggestions for Shangri-la in Belmont. The spicy fish fillet with tofu is super. See the review just posted by Alcachofa.

              Basta Pasta on Western Ave. in Cambridge is terrific, despite the pizza parlor atmosphere. Homemade fusilli, great meatballs, decent chicken piccata. Everything is made in the restaurant, and the prices are very reasonable.

              Cafe Barada on Mass. Ave. outside of Porter heading toward Arlington. Simple and tasty food, and wonderful people who run it.

              Just up the street, Addis Red Sea just opened a second location. I haven't tried the new location, but they have solid Ethiopian, and there are several posts on this board.

              I've had mixed experiences with Maria Bonita on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge. Burritos have sometimes been decent, sometimes bland and chewy meat. Decent chiles rellenos, though.

              Although not in Cambridge or Watertown, Angelina's in Teele Sq., Somerville, is close by and has very good, solid subs, including the steak and cheese. I've not had their pizza, but it's gotten decent reviews in the past.

              Another decent choice close to Watertown is Andros Diner in Waverly Sq., Belmont.
              Decent Greek food, and great prices.

              Happy eating!